Friday, October 10, 2008

Anniversary Week

I wrote a few days ago that a few of my friends, arrested with me, would be marking the anniversary of our arrest by going to the intersection for a remembrance, then to the courthouse for some ritualized profanity (see Psalm 10 and 109, which go nicely with some other choice words).

Turned out that just my cielo, JT, and I were able to make it. We met at the intersection -- I have stopped by there several times since we go downtown with some frequency and actually park most often at the lot that's right there, so it was not the first time. JT and my cielo were both disoriented, a little. JT had no memory of the convention center looming near us. My feeling was that the street seemed so small now. We remembered our friends who couldn't be with us.

Then JT and I walked down to the courthouse (my cielo had to work on a paper), and sat on the steps, and just talked. Talked about all the trials and hearings. Talked about both of us being called for jury duty in the winter (yes both!), and the weird experience of sitting in the jury room, where we had been processed for our arrests just a couple months before. My strange response to seeing people in wedding attire having their picture taken on the steps one afternoon when I came down for a trial -- you mean something good happens in this building? Her sudden outburst of songs from Godspell. Our shared cynicism, with which we struggle, after the way the city treated us.

I read Psalm 10, and 109, and then JT mentioned 137 so I read that one, too. Then I decided I wanted to go see the columbus statue in the park in front of us. I wanted to see if the graffiti a certain person in her clergy collar had written on the base of the statue while we were waiting for my verdict (unbeknownst to me) was still there.

It still is.

columbus kills, it says.

Freshened up a bit now, shall we say. And translated into Spanish.

That's all you need to know.

We shared brie and crackers and an apple and chocolate, and laughed together. I'm so thankful for JT, what a good friend I have found. Generous and funny and encouraging.

After our snack we headed over the CIW vigil, which was lovely. We had CIW activists come to my church the night before, and they invited me to lead one of the songs we did in worship for the vigil, which I was happy to do. We prayed together underneath Chipotle's offices. When they mentioned that they would be sleeping on the street that night in front of the building, when the temperature was supposed to drop into the 30s, I did a quick check with my other church members who were there and we decided to use some of our money to bring hot chocolate later.

But how does one do that?

JT had the brilliant idea of stopping at a Starbucks and asking for those gallon-size cardboard jug-things they have, just the jug. So we did, and managed to get two. I stopped by the store and bought trail mix, fruit, hot chocolate and hot cider mixes, and lara bars. Then I went home and boiled water and filled up the jugs with hot water. Then my cielo and I went back over to the vigil site, and delivered the goods, at about 11:30.

On the way, we remembered where we were the year before -- me in jail, her waiting outside in the cold. Suddenly I began to choke up..."Did anyone bring you something warm to drink in the middle of the night?" I asked her. "Yes, they did, they did," she said. And we talked about how important it felt, on the anniversary of that day, of that long night, to be attending to others in this way.

It was a good day.

The rest of the week has been interesting. Mostly good, settling in to my new job (I have a new job...I think I've forgotten to mention that...) and doing church stuff and getting ready for this weekend. There have been a few things that let me know it's an anniversary time, though.

  • My right hand and arm/shoulder are hurting more. The pain in my right thumb has never completely gone away, although, as Crimson Rambler noted, my softball playing does not seem to be affected, thank goodness. I still make perfect cutoff throws. Mostly I don't notice the pain. But this week the pain has increased, for no apparent reason, so I'm sure it probably anniversary-related.
  • My cielo has a busy day tomorrow -- in addition to the protest-related stuff -- and as we were trying to figure out the day's logistics a couple of nights ago, I said it was important to me that we march together...and then began to tear up. Part of my emotion: fear that "something" will happen to us, and she wouldn't be there. Rationally, nothing is going to happen, there is no plan for any kind of confrontation like last year...but still...that fear is there.
  • Today we were back downtown, to do a couple of errands after work. We had parked at that same intersection. When we headed back, she went on across the intersection with a group of people, but against the walk sign. Since yours truly still has probation to contend with, I waited for the walk signal. While waiting, I saw a cop car in the intersection, across the street from me on the street I was about to cross (does that make sense?). No big deal. I got the walk signal and headed across the street, and about half-way across, suddenly I heard the siren behind me. I jumped, walked more quickly, checked behind me. What had I done? The cop was pulling over a bicyclist, and had to have come across the intersection against the red light to have been behind me like that. I was spooked, I tell you. I went to the car, got in, shaking, and began to cry. We just stayed put for a few minutes, my cielo comforted me, and we drove away once I'd calmed down. I've been a little shaky ever since. I'm supposed to speak at the rally tomorrow, and every time I tried to write down my remarks, I'd start to cry. I'm better now, thanks to my cielo and a call from JT.
I'll be fine. JT and I wonder how we will feel tomorrow, to march that same route, and not confront the parade. Clearly, there is still so much to process and uncover from the experience of this whole last year. I imagine there will be some emotion, and some of that emotion will be joyful. I'm honored to get to speak tomorrow, and I'm excited about marching and the rally. It will be good to hear the drums again, and see the flags flying. It will be good to join arms again, to celebrate life, and community, and possibility.